Practice Mindful Walking…

Experience the miracle of moving, of being alive, of not needing to get anywhere, of letting go of fear, trusting in a practice that has a tradition more than 2,500 years old. Walking meditation can be done inside or outside, wherever it is safe and protected, so you cannot trip over. A private garden, no matter how small, is ideal. It’s enough to be able to walk ten steps or so in one direction.

When we decide to walk mindfully, we first take a stance to feel really connected to the earth, feet hip-width apart and solidly rooted to the ground. First, take in the area you are to walk in, keeping your eyes open and looking straight ahead. Then, very slowly start to lift your right foot from the ground. Notice the heel peeling off the ground, and the weight shifting onto the left leg and foot. Having peeled the right heel off, observe how you are moving it forwards ever so slowly and gently placing it down exactly one step ahead. While you are placing the right foot down, you are observing the left heel beginning to peel off the ground and the weight shifting back onto the right leg.

At first you may notice walking in a slightly wobbly way, as you have slowed down the pace so much. It may be helpful to imagine making real footprints in the ground, like walking on a sandy beach. Your awareness will be fully occupied with the lifting, shifting and placing of each foot step by step as well as mindfully observing how your weight shifts from left to right and back again. When you have done approximately ten steps in one direction, take your time in turning around. Notice how your hips swirl around very gradually and before starting your next of steps, stand once again mindfully rooted to the ground.

With each passage you walk, it is possible to feel more and more grounded and safe, although each person’s experience differs. Try to do it with an attitude of openness and curiosity, as would a child. Practise mindful walking maybe for ten minutes initially, then expand it gradually to 20 minutes, should you wish or need to.

-Source: ‘Journey into Mindfulness’ book (page 42), by Dr Patrizia Collard.

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